How to Say “No” to Stress Overload

When you have more requests than you have time or bandwidth, you run the risk of stress overload or burnout. To avoid this, you need to be skilled at the art of saying no. It’s an important part of self-care, but most of us hate to say “no,” particularly when the asker is a boss, a loved one, or an authority figure. It’s human nature to want to be polite, helpful, and cooperative. We don’t want to disappoint people. We don’t want people to think less of us. We want to avoid conflict and guilt.

Here are strategies to help you get better at saying a guilt-free “no”:

  1. Practice. Start with saying no to small things and work your way up.
  2. Listen and be sure you understand the request. Ask for details to make an informed decision and show you take
         the request  seriously.
  3. Say “no” right away if you are sure, but if not, buy yourself time: “Let me check my schedule”; “Let me check with my
         boss/spouse”; “Ask me again on Monday. “
  4. Assess the request in terms of your commitments and priorities. Who is making the request? When is it due?
  5. Be direct, simple, respectful, and timely when you say no. Avoid vagueness or leaving doors open for negotiation.
  6. Don’t overly apologize or overly explain your “no.”
  7. Thank the person for thinking of you/including you. It’s just polite and softens the “no.”
  8. Be prepared for attempts to persuade/negotiate – stick to your decision. Plan whether you could or would
         agree if certain conditions were met.

For more on getting good at saying no, consider these EAP tools:

  1. Call your EAP Coach / Counselor to ask for help getting better at saying no. Just call 800-252-4555 24/7/ 365.
  2. Log in to the member site at and visit the training center for: Communication Toolkit: The Art
         of Saying No
    | Course ID:
  3. Search for resources on these related topics: Assertiveness, time management, setting priorities, establishing boundaries.

    Do You Know the Signs of Alcohol Misuse?

    April is Alcohol Awareness Month, but we get questions about alcohol use/misuse year-round: Is there a cure for a hangover? Does alcohol affect men and women differently? How much alcohol is in a standard drink? And one of the most common questions we are asked: How do I know if I or a loved one has an alcohol problem?  Ask yourself if alcohol:

    1. Interferes with or disrupts your work, family, or relationships?
    2. Has a negative effect on your physical, mental, or emotional health?
    3. Poses a safety, health, or financial risk?
    4. Causes anxiety, discomfort, irritability, or illness when stopped?
    5. Results in arguments?
    6. Pose difficulties when limiting or stopping?
    7. Continues even in the face of negative consequences?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to seek help! Your EAP has counselors and coaches you can speak with, or you can login at to take self-assessments and explore more about alcohol and substance misuse.

    Improve Your Work Skills!

    Refresh your work skills this month! Explore thousands of online E-Learning courses. Click “Member Login” at, and when you are signed in, click on the comprehensive training library in the “Training Center.”
    Here are a few suggestions:

    • NEW! The Science of Happiness at Work: When Things Don’t Go Your Way | Course ID: SVL_1021702
      Learners will walk away from this lesson with actionable ways to build resiliency and self-compassion
      from this 7-minute video.
    • Email Matters: Handling Irate Customers | Course ID: SVL_017148
      This 4-minute video shows how to properly handle and defuse upset and irate customers via email.
    • NEW! Excel Basics | Course ID: SVL_1021866
      In this 27-minute video, you’ll get an introduction to Microsoft Excel 2019, covering the basics of a worksheet, entering data, formatting cells, using the sum and average functions, using charts, and how to save, filter and sort a worksheet.

    Learn More!

    How to Scan a QR Code

    1. Open the camera app.
    2. Select the rear-facing camera in Photo mode.
    3. Center the QR code you want to scan on the screen
         and hold your phone steady for a couple of seconds.
    4. Tap the notification that pops up to open the link.
         (You will need to be connected to the internet to do this.)

    Don’t Forget!

    EAP services are available to you and your household members as well as dependent children living away from home, up to age 26. 

    ESI EAP’s Featured April Webinar

    Making Time for Work and Family –Every month, a webinar and related resources are featured at the top of the member site. Simply log in to during the month of April to explore the resources and take the webinar at your convenience.

    Hey, Moms,
    this is for you:

    The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline is available in English, Spanish & 60 languages on request. Their counselors provide 24-hour free support, resources & referrals to Moms who need it. 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS

    More April Events:

    1. Financial Literacy Month 

    2. National Child Abuse
         Prevention Month

    3. National Stress Awareness

    4. National Minority Health

    5. Sexual Assault Awareness &
         Prevention Month  

    Accessing Your EAP Training Center

     1. Go to and       
          click Member Login.

    2. If you’ve already created an           
         account, log in with your User       

    3. If it’s your first time, click                   
         REGISTER to create your User 
         Name and Password. You only 
         need to register once.

    4. Click the ‘Training Center’ and 
          then choose ‘Comprehensive 
          Training library

    5. In the Search bar at the top of the 
         screen, type the course code or 
         search for a topic.

    6. Click the course icon, and click the 
    Play’ or ‘Start’ button to begin.

    To get a certificate: View the course and take the quiz. Not all courses require a quiz, but if so, you must score at least 80% for a certificate. To get your certificate, click on the ribbon icon below the right corner of the video. The certificate will download to your computer. | 800.252.4555

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